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      by Published on 09-30-2014 06:14 AM

      As the tide of war rises again in the Middle East, the military’s rank and file are mostly opposed to expanding the new mission in Iraq and Syria to include sending a large number of U.S. ground troops into combat, according to a Military Times survey of active-duty members.

      On the surface, troops appear to support President Obama’s repeated vows not to let the U.S. military get “dragged into another ground war” in Iraq. Yet at the same time, the views of many service members are shaped by a deep ambivalence about this commander in chief and questions about his ability to lead the nation through a major war, according to the survey and interviews.

      The reader survey asked more than 2,200 active-duty troops this question: “In your opinion, do you think the U.S.
      by Published on 09-29-2014 03:44 PM

      Fed Rate Policies Aid Foreign Banks

      Lenders Pocket a Spread by Borrowing Cheaply, Parking Funds at Central Bank

      Banks headquartered outside the U.S. have been unlikely beneficiaries of the Federal Reserve's interest-rate policies, and they are likely to keep profiting as the Fed changes the way it controls borrowing costs.

      Foreign firms have received nearly half of both the $4.7 billion in interest the Fed paid banks so far this year for the money, called reserves, they deposit at the U.S. central bank, and the $5.1 billion it paid last year, according to an analysis of Fed data by The Wall Street Journal. Those lenders control only about 17% of all bank assets in the U.S.

      Moreover, the Fed's plans for raising interest rates make it likely banks will see those payments grow in coming years.

      Though small in relation to their overall revenues, interest payments from the Fed have been a source of virtually risk-free returns for banks including Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG, Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, according to bank regulatory filings. U.S. banks including J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Well Fargo & Co. and Bank of America Corp. are also big recipients of Fed interest payments, according to the filings.

      "It is a small transfer from U.S. taxpayers to foreign taxpayers," said Joseph Gagnon, a former Fed economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. The transfer, he added, was a side effect of Fed policy, not a goal.

      by Published on 09-29-2014 01:55 PM

      Nearly 1 In 4 Americans In Their Prime Are Not Working
      By Rachel Stoltzfoos

      Nearly one in four Americans of prime working age are not working, even as the president boasts of falling unemployment numbers and other indicators show economic growth.

      Since the recession began in 2007, the number of Americans ages 25 to 54 who are not working has grown by more than 3.5 million to 28.9 million, according to an analysis Bureau of Labor Statistics data conducted by Senate Budget Committee Republicans...
      by Published on 09-29-2014 12:20 PM

      Seven Awful Reasons for Bypassing Congress on ISIS
      The Constitution is clear on war powers, and yet Congress may not weigh in until next year.
      By W. James Antle III • September 29, 2014

      Maybe if we’re lucky, Congress will vote on the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria—already underway—sometime next year. While a few brave souls are calling for a vote before then, the midterm elections seem to overrule the Constitution.
      Yet some people don’t think Congress should have to vote at all. More than a few defenders of expansive presidential war powers say they are conservatives.

      Why do people who (rightly) oppose the president usurping the power to determine when the Senate is in recess so he can fill a National Labor Relations Board vacancy believe it is fine for him to flout the Constitution’s clear language that Congress shall have the power to declare war?

      Several reasons for this are often given, all of them deeply problematic.

      1. The War Powers Act says it’s okay (at least for 60-90 days)...
      2. Presidents do foreign policy. You can’t run a war by committee with 535 commanders-in-chief...
      3. It is antiquated for Congress to declare war...
      More: http://www.theamericanconservative.c...gress-on-isis/
      by Published on 09-29-2014 11:16 AM

      Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai was sworn in Monday as Afghanistan's new president, replacing Hamid Karzai in the country's first transfer of power since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the Taliban.


      The change in presidents will allow Afghanistan to sign a deal Tuesday to allow American soldiers to remain in the country past the end of the year, said John Podesta, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama. U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham was to sign the agreement, while it was not immediately clear if Ghani Ahmadzai or a lower member of government would sign it.

      The deal will allow about 10,000 American troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends Dec. 31. Karzai had refused to sign it despite U.S. threats of a full withdrawal in the absence of legal protections for American forces. U.S. officials have said that the delay in the deal's signing does not affect plans for next year.

      by Published on 09-29-2014 09:50 AM

      A Washington think tank has hired the maker of the acclaimed “Call of Duty” game to envision the kind of future wars the US could be fighting.

      The key reason for this, according to the Atlantic Council think tank, is that, with all its money and capabilities, America really isn’t thinking creatively about the various threats it could face in the 21st century.

      Dave Anthony, the creator of the billion-dollar Call of Duty franchise, will be joining other authors, screenwriters and entertainment figures in an initiative called 'The Art of Future War Project,' set to launch next week, according to AFP.

      "I think this is going to be the next 9/11," he said.

      Continued - Pentagon think tank hires ‘Call of Duty’ creator to advise on future threats to US
      by Published on 09-29-2014 08:45 AM

      The Senator has fought to go mainstream with the ideology that he shares with his father. How far can that strategy take him?


      At 8 A.M. on a Friday in late July, Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, stood before a predominantly African-American audience of about a hundred at an Urban League conference in Cincinnati. An ophthalmologist before he was a senator, Paul has spent much of his career in surgical scrubs, but he was dressed nattily, in a charcoal suit and a red rep tie. His typically unkempt curls, which give him the look of a philosophy student lost in thought, were restrained with the help of a hair product. His aides had been promoting the talk for weeks, as part of a yearlong effort to reintroduce himself to political constituencies—on both the left and the right—that may have reason to distrust him. In the next few months, he is planning to deliver a major speech on foreign policy; like race, it is an area in which Paul has encountered strident opposition.


      In some respects, Paul is to Republicans in 2014 what Barack Obama was to Democrats in 2006: the Party’s most prized fund-raiser and its most discussed senator, willing to express opinions unpopular within his party, and capable of energizing younger voters. The Republican National Committee, which in 2008 refused to allow his father, Ron Paul, to speak at its Convention, recently solicited donations by offering supporters a chance to have lunch with Rand Paul. The only potential obstacle to a Paul Presidential candidacy in 2016 is his wife, Kelley. Douglas Stafford, Paul’s top political adviser, said, “Unless Kelley says no, he’s running.” Steve Munisteri, the chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, told me this summer, “He is objectively one of the three most likely people to get the nomination.”

      by Published on 09-29-2014 07:40 AM


      Merchants that work with eBay's (EBAY, Tech30) PayPal can now easily start accepting payments from customers that use Bitcoin (XBT), an independent, government-less currency. Continued...
      by Published on 09-29-2014 06:35 AM

      What's a measly 300 grand in the scheme of things......

      Researchers rode bikes on treadmills with taxpayer money

      BY: Elizabeth Harrington
      September 26, 2014 4:15 pm

      The National Science Foundation (NSF) spent $300,000 studying how “humans interact with bicycles,” the latest example of what a House committee chairman calls waste in the agency.

      The premise for the project, which was conducted between October 2009 and June 2013, was that bicycle dynamics are “poorly understood,” and researchers set out to come up with new designs to encourage more Americans to bike to lower their carbon footprint.

      (why is that the job of the federal government?)

      “Although human operator control models exist ...
      by Published on 09-29-2014 05:30 AM

      The United States is spending millions of dollars to destroy U.S. equipment in Iraq and Syria — gear the U.S. gave the Iraqi military that was later captured by ISIS forces.

      The U.S has hit 41 Humvees since attacks began in August, according to data from United States Central Command.

      The U.S. is sending $30,000-bombs to eliminate these armored vehicles, which cost about a quarter of a million dollars each depending what it is equipped with, according to Todd Harrison, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

      The U.S. Defense Department confirmed the targets to CNN. "In some cases, we have seen instances of ISIL capturing and employing U.S.-made equipment," said a spokesperson. "When we've seen these terrorists employing this equipment, we've sought to eliminate that threat."

      Once the U.S. destroys the equipment, it might have to re-supply the Iraqi military.

      "If we want them [the Iraqi military] to be able to secure their own borders in the long run, we're going to have to re-equip them," said Harrison. "So we'll be buying another Humvee and sending it back to the Iraqi military.''

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